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Oncology FAQs

General Cancer FAQs

I was just diagnosed with cancer—what do I do now?

The first thing you should do is contact your family physician or the physician who diagnosed your cancer and get a recommendation for an oncologist. Often a surgeon and medical oncologist are the first physicians you will need to meet with to determine the best course of treatment. Radiation oncologists will be referred to you from either the surgeon, medical oncologist, or both if radiation is indicated as part of your treatment plan. If you do not have a physician, Centegra can assist you in finding the physicians you need to receive optimal care.

Do you provide second opinions for radiation therapy?

Yes. We are happy to provide second opinions. You will need to schedule an appointment and provide basic medical information.

Will I be able to receive my first radiation treatment on consultation day?

Typically, the consultation appointment is a day for the physicians and clinical staff to get to know you and your particular medical history. It is also a time for you to get to know what treatment options are available and to choose the one that best meets your needs. At the end of your consultation, another appointment will be scheduled for radiation if that is the type of treatment if that is the best option for your treatment.

How often and how long are radiation treatments?

Most radiation treatments are given five days per week, Monday through Friday. We do not treat on weekends in order to allow your body to have a break from radiation. Length of treatments vary per individual because of personalized treatment plans. On average, radiation treatment takes 15 minutes from start to finish. The first day is the longest and it takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

What are the side effects of radiation and/or chemotherapy?

Side effects differ from person to person and will depend on the area of the body that is being treated with radiation or the type of drug being infused for chemotherapy. Our therapy and nursing team will discuss the side effects and how you can manage them before, during, and after your radiation treatment. We also have a support team that includes a dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition.

Can I eat before my treatment?

Yes, you may eat before radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

Can I come to Centegra for chemotherapy if my oncologist is not on staff?

Yes. Physicians who are not on staff must have their orders co-signed by an on-staff physician of the same specialty. We can provide the appropriate contact information for Centegra’s independent physician specialists.

How much will my treatment cost?

We have a financial counselor that is available to assist you to answer any insurance or financial questions based upon your particular insurance plan benefits. We also have a medication assistance coordinator who can assist you in applying for pharmaceutical programs for medications or other maintenance drugs if you cannot afford them.

Mammography FAQs

Does mammography give off unsafe radiation?

Both regular and 3-D mammograms use what we consider “safe radiation” that involves no risk of cancer.

If I’ve previously had a mammogram, do I really need another one?

Every woman older than 40 needs an annual mammogram. One mammogram does not mean breast cancer is no longer a threat to you. In addition to mammograms, you should perform self-examinations to check for unusual breast symptoms.

Is a mammogram painful?

Mammograms may cause mild discomfort in some women, but they are not painful. Centegra’s Associates are dedicated to keeping you comfortable throughout your mammogram.

What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year. Sometimes the radiologist may ask you to come back for follow-up images, which is called a diagnostic mammogram, to rule out an unclear area in the breast or if there is a breast complaint that needs to be evaluated.

What should I expect during the 3-D mammography exam?

3-D mammography, or tomosynthesis, complements standard 2-D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds for each view.

Who can have a 3-D mammography exam?

3-D mammography is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings. This screening is ideal for women with dense breasts.

Which Centegra locations offer 3-D mammography?

The Centegra Gavers Breast Center located at 360 N. Terra Cotta Road, Crystal Lake, offers the only 3-D breast imaging in McHenry County.

How do I schedule a 3-D mammogram?

Call (815) 334-5566 to schedule your 3-D mammogram.

Who can I contact for more information about 3-D mammography?

For more information about 3-D mammography, visit the Breast Diagnostics page or contact the Centegra Gavers Breast Center at (815) 356-6149.

CT Lung Screening FAQs

What is a CT Lung Screening?

The CT Lung Screening is a non-invasive, painless exam that within minutes screens the lungs for evidence of cancer. The screening is performed on a computed tomography (CT) scanner, which allows the radiologist to review cross-sectional images, or “slices” of the lungs using a rotating X-ray beam. The low-dose chest CT used for screening the lungs delivers a much lower amount of radiation than a conventional CT, yet effectively provides images of the lungs that can detect tumors or nodules with greater detail than standard chest X-rays.

Who should have a CT Lung Screening?

CT Lung screenings are recommended for both men and women who are current or former heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 74. Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, as well as in McHenry County. It is estimated that more than 80% of lung cancers could be cured if detected at an early stage, when they are still small and localized to the lungs. Small malignant tumors can be removed before disease spreads to other areas of the body. Your CT lung screening results will help your physician diagnose a problem and assist in developing your medical treatment plan.

What should I expect?

Several days prior to your appointment, a nurse will contact you to complete a questionnaire. Please arrive 15 minutes early to allow plenty of time to check in. Payment is required at this time. Before your screening, we will review your medical history and any past exams. The screening will take approximately 15 minutes. During the screening, you will lie on your back on a comfortable CT exam table with your arms stretched above your head. You will be asked to lie still and hold your breath briefly as the pictures are being taken. The scanner may surround your chest area for a short period of time. The scanner is open at the front and the back so you can see the room. A technologist, who will be close by in an adjacent room to monitor the pictures being taken, will be able to see and hear you during the short screening period.

What happens after the screening?

After the screening, you may resume all normal daily activities as planned. Your primary care physician office will contact you to review the results of your exam.